Authors as Published

Authored by Eric Day, Extension Entomologist, Department of Entomology, Virginia Tech; and Theresa A. Dellinger, Insect Identification Lab, Department of Entomology, Virginia Tech


The Spotted Lanternfly (SLF), Lycorma delicatula, was detected in Winchester, Virginia in 2018. It has spread and is now found in multiple locations in Virginia. It is important to report new finds of this pest to your local Cooperative Extension Office.

Life stages

SLF has three distinct stages: nymphal, adult, and egg. There is one generation per year.


SLF molts four times during the nymphal stage. These molts are called instars. The young 1st-3rd instars are black with white spots (Figs. 1 & 2). The mature 4th instars are red, black, and white (Fig. 3). Nymphs measure 4-16 mm (3/16-5/8 inch) long and are found from late April to mid-summer.

 A young spotted lanternfly nymph rests on tree bark.
Figure 1. Side view of SLF nymph showing the head projection (Eric Day, Virginia Tech).
Two young spotted lanternfly nymphs.
Figure 2. The 1st to 3rd instars are black with white spots (Erice Day, Virginia Tech).
A mature spotted lanternfly nymph rests on a fresh leaf.
Figure 3. The 4th instar nymphs are red and black with white spots (Eric Day, Virginia Tech).


Adult SLF measure about 25 mm (1 inch) long with wings folded and about 38 cm (1 1/2 inch) wide with the wings expanded. Adult SLF have black spots on the front part of the wing and a broken-line pattern at the tip (Fig. 4). When the wings are expanded, the red, black, and white colors of the hind wings are visible (Fig. 5). Adult SLF are found from mid-July to November.

A dorsal view of a spotted lanternfly adult resting on a fresh leaf.
Figure 4. Adult SLF in resting position (Eric Day, Virginia Tech).
 An adult spotted lanternfly with expanded wings rests on a tree trunk.
Figure 5. Adult SLF with wings spread (Eric Day, Virginia Tech).
 Four insect egg masses laid on a tree trunk, some with exposed eggs.
Figure 6. Freshly laid egg masses and exposed eggs (Eric Day, Virginia Tech).
An adult spotted lanternfly with expanded wings rests on a tree trunk.
Figure 7. Weathered egg masses (Eric Day, Virginia Tech).

Pest Alert: Spotted Lanternfly Identification and Reporting in Virginia


Eggs are laid in masses that are usually covered with a protective material. The covering is shiny when fresh, but later dries to a flat gray color (Fig. 6). As the material ages, it turns tan, develops cracks, and may fall off (Fig. 7). Egg masses range from 25-40 mm (1 to 1 1/2 inch) in size. Most eggs are covered but exposed eggs can be found (Fig. 6). Egg masses can be singly or in clusters. Egg masses are found most easily in the winter and nymphs begin hatching in April.


If you suspect you have found SLF for the first time in your location, take a picture or collect it. Be sure to note the street address or location it was found and contact your local Cooperative Extension Office. Your information helps Cooperative Extension track the spread of this invasive pest in Virginia.

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Publication Date

July 7, 2022